With the first two days of Microsoft’s inaugural Ignite conference having drawn to a close we can now reflect on the keynotes from Chicago on a sunny Bank Holiday Monday and how Microsoft plan to help empower IT Pros.
Don’t worry if you missed the keynote sessions as we have compiled all the latest information from day one of Ignite into this easy to digest article for you. Plus, you can watch Ignite on demand here.
The idea of behind Convergence, BUILD and Ignite was to bring the End-Users, Developers and IT Professionals together.
Ignite was kicked off by rapper Common walking through the crowd inspiring the audience to drive change, concluding with the quote “we will light the way, we will ignite the future” which set the theme for the event.
Satya Nadella (CEO, Microsoft), begun the day with an introduction into Microsoft’s aims going forward. “Empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more… Empowerment starts by empowering you as IT Professionals”.
Satya proceeded to give the definition of the mobile-first, cloud-first world. “So when we say mobile-first what matters is the mobility of the experience across all of the computing devices in our lives. Cloud-first is the cloud backend for all your applications and all of your data. It’s about your intelligence. “
“Microsoft is the productivity and platform company that will thrive in a mobile-first, cloud-first world”
Satya then touched on Microsoft’s three interlocking ambitions:
1. Era of more personal computing
The core vision is the notion that what matters most in our devices is the ability to convey human experience through them. In a natural fashion through touch, speech and holograms.
In doing this, it’s paramount that we build trust in the operating system in a way that benefits the user and the organisation as well as creating new categories such as the tablet that can replace your laptop and how we think of Windows.
Here a new capability was announced: Windows Update for Business designed to fundamentally change the productivity of the PC and work stations.
2. Reinventing productivity and business processes
Bring together communication, collaboration and creation tools with business process.es In the last 12 months Microsoft have been innovating in new ways with new categories like Sway. One innovation that is key to us is to make it so that end users can do it in a friction free way.
Building agility in the cloud. What Microsoft do in terms of DevOps, that’s where the best tooling and platforms come in.
Helping to transform your data centre so that you have flexibility in both private and public cloud deployment options.
Some of the announcements include the preview release of System Center 2016 and Windows Server 2016.
Operations Management Suite is going to provide one consistent IT control plan for all of your servers, which means Orchestration of all your clouds using one single view. Security will see advanced analytics solutions where all organisations can analyse behaviourally all authentication logs and anything happening in Active Directory.
Era of more personal computing
Joe Belfiore (Corporate Vice President, Microsoft) took to the stage with his mission: to convince you that your end-users will love Window 10 and give you the necessary tools to take back to your company.
Why will end-users love Windows 10?
One of the key highlights is that users of older versions of Windows can migrate to Windows 10 and receive a familiar user experience with the addition of new features and benefits that will unveil themselves with guidance. It’s the balance of familiarity and new features.
The familiar features include:
- Start button
- Start menu
- Jump lists
- Windows 8 Live tiles
The new features include:
- Most used apps appearing in start menu
- Recently installed apps appearing in start menu – ease of discovery
- Multiple desktop support
- Power users can flip between desktops using ctrl + windows + right arrow
- Drag and drop to move windows between virtual desktops
Additionally there is the promise of personal computing with examples including Cortana being able to speak and receive questions in the users natural language.
Cortana is supported with an intelligent cloud backing up Windows 10 so Cortana can answer more complex questions. It will not only be able to search for questions online but you will be able to ask Cortana how to use your PC, for instance as demonstrated at Ignite:
Cortana can also connect to PowerBI so you can ask her to answer questions regarding your business data. In the demo Cortana was able to answer questions such as ‘show me the average number of PCs that our attendees have by industry’.
Microsoft Edge will enable people to take notes on the Internet and share with others. Cortana is able to help with browsing tasks.
There is now a button called ‘reading mode’ which will allow you to translate any web page to your natural language using Microsoft Translator as demonstrated with a web page translated from Spanish to English. Additionally you can make web notes using your mouse or finger to hightlight and draw things on the screen as well as taking screen clippings. All of which can be saved.
There will now be an identical app for Outlook on phone and desktop to provide consistent user experience between devices.
Joe proceeded to talk about Continuum which was covered in detail at BUILD. He mentioned that you can transform your use of devices, for instance a continuum for phone has the power of a PC experience when connected to a full screen monitor.
Joe demonstrated Windows Hello with facial recognition sign in. The device quickly was able to recognise his face and proceed to sign in. There was Windows Password which allows you to get into your applications and online content without using a password which is more secure. Find out more here.
Fun fact: 3.7 million people have joined the insider program.
— Doug Hemminger (@DougHemminger) May 4, 2015
Reinventing productivity and business processes
The 23,000 strong Microsoft audience then welcomed Gurdeep Singh Pall Corporate Vice President for Lync and Skype Engineering, Microsoft) covering the second ambition.
“By 2020 the majority of your workforce will be millennial” – Gurdeep
Team productivity will become critical and more members will be working from their own place and not in the same room.
At Microsoft we consider ourselves as the custodians of productivity. The five big areas we focus on for productivity:
- Working from anywhere
- Content Co-Creation
- 100 million downloads of Office last year
- On 14th February 2015 there were 500 million downloads of Skype on Google Play
- Skype meetings can be broadcast to 10,000 people or more
- Office 365 Public Preview is now available
Office 365 Delve
Office Delve is a collaboration tool that show the communication flows amongst teams such as email, Skype and Yammer as well as counts and growth rates. It is also able to keep track of work like balance by monitoring activity out of office hours.
Using the Health Tracker Dashboard you can see a view of team interactions, time spent in meetings and compare it to the average for the organisations. Plus, Outlook remembers the last files you have used saving you time.
Lets not forget Sway which will be coming to Office 365 for Business next month.
Building the intelligent cloud backend for the worlds applications
Brad Anderson brought out the big guns with numerous announcements around the Azure Stack, Windows Update for Business and Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS).
The key features in cloud computing:
Security is the number one concern in enterprise. Security starts with the device and this is where Azure Active Directory comes in, helping with ID management.
The four areas of protection include:
Many customers have asked for the Outlook app for the Enterprise Mobility Suite. It’s more secure than it was and means you can switch between personal and corporate email.
Azure RemoteApp is the ability to run applications in Azure which you can bring down and surface on the users machine anywhere in the world as though the application is running locally.
The benefit is that you don’t have to build and maintain any infrastructure. Brad’s demo leveraged the new feature launched in RemoteApp that enables it to be deployed to an existing VNET in Azure, including ExpressRoute.
Document Tracking & Secure Collaboration with Azure Rights Management
Brad proceeded to demo the new Document Tracking feature from Azure Rights Management. The new feature allows senders to track who is accessing or trying to access sensitive files that they have shared through the RMS Sharing app. You get alerted when The feature works with Outlook.
He then showed the Document Tracking site in which he can view see how many times a file has been view and by whom as well as how many denied attempts had been made and again by whom. You can actually drill down and see the precise location of the people that have tried to view the folder.
Another good feature is that you can revoke access altogether anytime, helping you to retain control of your files at all times.
#MSIgnite Azure RemoteApp just keeps getting cooler and cooler...
— Scott Thomas (@deathbyvegemite) May 4, 2015
Cloud App Discovery allows you to see the number of SaaS apps that people are using and helps bring SaaS apps under control of Azure Active Directory for single sign-in, hanging back IT control over shadow IT.
Windows Update for Business
Then came the announcement of Windows Update for Business which will be free for both Windows 10 Professional and Enterprise.
Update for business will provide:
- Distribution rings
- Maintenance windows
- Peer to peer delivery
- Integration with your existing tools
Microsoft Azure Stack
Microsoft Azure Stack in short allows you to run your datacentre as though it was Azure. Azure Stack delivers IaaS and PaaS services into your datacentre allowing you to effectively blend your enterprise applications such as SharePoint, Exchange and SQL Server with modern distributed applications and services.
Microsoft Operation Management Suite (OMS)
“Microsoft Operations Management Suite is easy to setup and always remains up to date, plus it simply connects to your on-prem datacentres and cloud environments” – Brad
“Our cloud-first approach to your management is the fastest, most cost-effective way to meet new business challenges, accommodate new workloads, and support the apps running on Windows Server or Linux – in any cloud.” – Brad
Find out more about OMS here.
Right folks that is our round up of content from Day 1 of Ignite – hope you found that useful. We’d be interested to hear your thoughts around the announcements from both BUILD and Ignite so let us know in the comments section below or via @TechNetUK.
- What did I miss at BUILD 2015? A Summary of Announcements
- A Developer's Guide to Windows 10 (Europe)